Most people will need to have a lock picked at some time or other, whether it’s due to losing keys to the front door, coming home to find your deadbolt jammed, because you’ve forgotten or lost the combination to your safe. Professional locksmiths are skilled and experienced at picking a variety of locks, including home and business locks and safe locks.

Lock picking technicians use an assortment of tools to help them get their job done without damaging the lock itself, which is important in cases where the lock is an antique and irreplaceable, or for rekeying purposes. A locksmith must have intimate knowledge of the different types of locks he picks in order to be successful at lock picking, and this requires the use of different tools.

How Do Locks Work?

Most common lock tumblers work by employing pairs of pins in the plug, which, with the use of springs, move up and down within the plug depending on whether the pins are at rest or locked into place. Keys are cut specifically to bump the pins into position so the lock can open. When the specific key is not available, getting the lock open requires the assistance of a professional.

Tools a Lock Picker Uses

The following are some of the tools that a locksmith might use to help you gain access to your home, business, or safe that you may have been locked out of:

• Torsion or Tension Wrench – This tool is used to apply torque to the lock’s plug in order to hold picked pins into place; once the pins have successfully been picked, the torsion or tension wrench is used to turn the plug, which opens the lock. A tension wrench is typically shaped like the letter “L” but with the vertical part of the letter elongated as opposed to the horizontal part.

• Half-Diamond Pick – The half-diamond pick is a versatile tool that can be used to pick individual pins or for raking. It can also be used for wafer and disk locks.

• Hook Pick – The hook pick is similar to the half-diamond pick, except it has a hook shape on the end rather than a half-diamond shape. The hook pick is the most basic tool and is typically all a locksmith will need for traditional locks. The hook pick comes in a variety of sizes, and it cannot be used for raking

• Ball Pick – The ball pick is also similar to the half-diamond pick, except it has a half- or full-circle shape on the end. It is used to pick wafer locks.

• Rake Pick – Rake picks are used to rake pins by quickly sliding the rake past all the pins repeatedly and bouncing them until they reach the shear line, which allows the lock to open. This method is usually used on cheaper locks.

• Pick Guns – There are two types of pick guns: manual and electronic. Both types are a popular method of lock-picking. Higher-end electric pick guns are typically made of hard steel and aircraft aluminum. The pick can be operated by pushing a button that causes the tool to vibrate while a tension wrench is in use.

A manual pick gun, or snap gun, works in a similar way but has a trigger that causes movement which transfers sudden energy to the key pins, causing them to jump and allowing the cylinder to turn for a moment until the keys return to their locking position. A pick gun is used with a tension wrench.

Next time you find yourself locked out of your home or business or discover you can’t get into your safe, call a local professional locksmith Houston like SK Locksmith. They have the proper tools, knowledge and experience to successfully pick your locks for you without causing damage to the lock.